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How To Fail Your GCSEs  

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Whether or not you need an article on this is up to you - many unfortunate people find it quite easy to fail their General Certificate of Secondary Education exams without the slightest bit of difficulty - but this is for those who can pass their GCSEs far to easily for their liking and wish to fail them instead.

We will go through as many subjects as possible. Over time more may be added.

1) English

English, arguably, is a bit pot-luckish anyway for many.

Questions are generally along these lines:

"Look again at lines 33 - 71.

What impression is the writer trying to obtain by repeating the phrase "The grass was green"? (10 marks)"

Duhhh. Obvious. The writer is trying to say that the grass is green (like the background of this page really) and wants to hammer it home. However, that's too short for ten marks.

And the question is so pointless. And the writer is being so pointless.

So you could say one of the following:

  • The writer is trying to give an impression that they are stupid.
  • The writer is trying to give an impression that the reader is stupid.
  • The writer is trying to give an impression that the examiner is stupid.

All of these are possible, so it depends on your personal feedback. Bulk them out if you want to, and quote something a few times. You'll fail better if the quotes are from a completely different passage.

And, your question is, how will these answers make me fail my GCSEs if they are all perfectly reasonable?

With ease. Examiners don't really like this sort of answer, so that's that question gone. 0 marks scored.

In your personal response to the poem, say that it's rubbish. Don't give reasons. Reasons get marks. Marks mean a pass. If you're aiming to pass, you should be reading a different webpage.

In order to increase your chances of failing here, put the answers to the questions in the wrong order, so something like C3, B2, A4, C1, A3, B3, B1, C2, A1, C4, A2. And then number them from A1 to C4. The examiner will be so confused they'll just mark everything wrong.

That's your English GCSE failed then.

2) Maths

Maths is a not excessively hard GCSE to get if you remember that the whole scheme of Maths is based around 1 (and the fact that if you double it you get 2).

So to fail it you forget that. Pretend that 1=4 and 1+1=7 or something.

And make the answer to all your questions 9, which doesn't take long to write but isn't a terribly popular answer.

If you think the answer is probably 9 (the square root of 81 is a very risky one here), write 9.2. Make sure you include the wrong units - measuring everything in paperclips is always a good bet.

That should remove all risk of you going out into the world qualified to do something with Maths.

3) Science

Science is rather more iffy.

One of the more important equations in Physics is speed=distance÷time. Muddling that will help you fail that exam. Ignore rules about forces, so say that gravity helps you fly, and claim that there are no disadvantages to nuclear power. And ignore everything anyone ever tried to teach you about global warming. Say it, acid rain and the hole in the ozone layer don't exist. That's useful for failing all the sciences.

Biology contains lots of 20-letter words and to fail that exam you spell them wrong and put them in the wrong places. And say smoking is good for you.

Chemistry: there should be copy of the Periodic Table on the back or on the first page. Ignore it. Answer questions about elements with something about Earth, Wind, Fire or Water.

Well, that should solve all your worries over that GCSE.

4) Languages

Answer the paper in the wrong language. So, if your paper is on French, answer the questions in German.

Students who do Welsh may wish to écrire en Français, and vice-versa.

And answer any sections where you have to write in English in the language which you were supposed to answer the rest of the paper in.

If you can't be bothered with all that, make up a language and answer the whole paper in that.

5) History

To fail, the following ideas may help:

  • Answer the wrong question.
  • To be even safer, answer the wrong question from a different paper.
  • Muddle up history - say Hitler invaded Cuba and the USA were invaded by Vietnam.
  • Remember - it can be difficult to fail History this way without appearing offensive (which is why we don't have many ideas here). So be offensive.
  • Muddle up Martin Luther (16th century) and Martin Luther King Junior (20th Century).

There are lots of other ideas available. It mostly depends on what course you're doing.

6) Geography

Once upon a time two brilliant people called Geoffrey Williams and Ronald Searle came up with a very stupid Geography question split over two pages. For copyright reasons we won't repeat it.

However, it is possible to make a similar mess. For flooding questions talk about when your sink overflowed. When you are asked where somewhere is, say "Earth". Muddle up latitude and longitude. Bungle the differences between More Economically Developed Countries and Less Econmomically Developed Countries. Defend tied aid (where you give someone a tractor in exchange for them buying all petrol and spares from you - it then turns out to be a gas-guzzling tractor which blows up twice a week, thereby making a very profitable bit of charity). Read maps wrong and put the Central Business District of London in Watford.

That should dispose of that GCSE.

7) Religious Education

While an easy GCSE to get a C in, this does not immediately mean that it is hard to fail dismally and get a U.

If asked for reasons about why marriages spilt up, get back together and so on, blame it all on British Airways. When asked about non-violent activites by religious people, talk about breakfast. Talk about one side of an argument and remember from English that reasons get marks. As you are out to fail no reasons should be given for your opinions.

Feel free to mix up answers and put various religious beliefs under the wrong religions (so give Catholic beliefs under the heading "Protestant beliefs" and so on.

8) IT (or ICT)

Mix up the hard disk, the floppy disc and the compact disc. Say that spreadsheets are designed for people who need new, larger bed linen. Confuse keyboard commands, and say that the motherboard is what you put someone who has never used a computer before on so that they will learn how to deal with it quicker.

And add that the RAM is there to make the funny noises as a large sheep attempts to get out and return to its family.

Don't use any technical terms and insult computers in general.

9) Music

It helps if you can't talk about music, play a musical instrument, express opinions or recognise anything about music. Accusing Mozart of being a rock star is something which will instantly prove ignorance. Identify a drum as a saxophone.

Remember - opinions mean marks. So no opinions please.

Once you know how to play a musical instrument you should also be able to play one badly, as you know where to put your fingures and feet to get the best possible discords.

10) Art

Art is a hard subject to completely fail. The Arts Council has been known to fund pictures of Heinz baked bean tins and piles of bricks so you can't expect handing in a blank sheet of paper to relieve you of all your marks.

Don't do any preparation. That would get you marks. Not doing prep. work means that you'll get no mark in three-quarters of your exams, and that will increase your chances of a U.

Overall, this is a subject where if you wish to fail you should just avoid the exam. A doctor's note will get you off any charges, although at a risk of being awarded marks as a form of compensation for not being able to attend, although if you didn't do any prep. you shouldn't get you too many of those. We can provide you with a form.

11) Media studies

This subject analyses media. To fail, simply produce the wrong analysis. So say that an article on a murder is about eating poisonous fish, and says that it's a very good thing for the community. That'll go down badly to begin with.

Which, if repeated enough, with comparisons between articles being muddled, will probably fail you the exam.

To guarantee a greater chance of failure do not do any coursework, as this could get you as much as a D.

You need to do a lot of work for this. To fail an exam properly you have to be sure that you are putting down the wrong answer. You can pass an exam on pot luck. It's worth the extra work, as you can get everything completely wrong if you know exactly what the wrong answer is.

Beyond that, there is little else to advise.

Bad luck!

Last modified 18/03/11

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